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Queen's University

Skype for Exams

I have been using Skype to connect to distant examiners (and myself, when I have been away) for about 5 years, with very few problems. The Dept of Biology has both laptops and a microphone that you can borrow, if needed. Here are a few things I have learned that make this process work well:


  • make sure you test your connection and software a day in advance of the meeting; both your computer and the remote computer should be using an up-to-date version of Skype, though I don’t really like the new Skype 5.0 and am still using the previous Mac version (

  • make sure both computers are connected to the web using ethernet rather than wifi if possible

  • in Biosciences, use a small room like 3108 if you can; it is sometimes hard to hear everyone in the larger rooms like 3012, even with a microphone

  • set Skype in the computer in the exam room to Auto-answer (under Preferences) so that if the connection is broken the remote examiner can reconnect automatically without disturbing the exam; also set the status to ‘Do Not Disturb’ so others don’t call in accidentally

  • the remote examiner should use a headset with microphone and earphones if possible, as this reduces echoes

  • I find it best just to aim the camera at the student the whole time, rather than adjusting to point at each speaker

  • it’s useful if the remote examiner can have the powerpoint presentation before the exam as they can then follow along during the seminar without having to point the camera at the screen, though that works OK too

  • set everything up in the exam room 15 min in advance and run a quick test call with the remote examiner

  • if you use the microphone, set it in the centre of the table, rather than moving it from examiner to examiner, so that the remote examiner can hear both the questions and the answers

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000